Claudia Arellano takes over College and Career Center


Heba Dalu, Editor-in-Chief

For the first time, the College and Career Center is led by a counselor who can claim Akins as their alma mater.

Claudia Arellano started her new job as Akins College and Career Adviser in early October after Annette Gutierrez stepped down from that role at the beginning of the school year.

Arellano is an Akins alumna from the Class of 2010 and a first-generation college graduate. She was born and raised in southeast Austin, specifically in the Dove Springs neighborhood. She attended Texas State University and earned a degree in Family and Child Development. Currently, she lives in Kyle with her family, her fiance, and her eight-month-old baby.

Before becoming the CCC counselor at Akins, she worked at Girls Empowerment Network for seven and a half years and said that she decided to switch due to the impacts of COVID-19.

“I loved my job there. It was great. It was fulfilling working with young girls on confidence building but I think that the pandemic was a little bit draining. And it wasn’t the same being virtual than in-person. It wasn’t fulfilling anymore because I wasn’t working with youth in the same way that I had wanted to,” she said.

Arellano said that she enjoyed her time as a student at Akins.

“I absolutely loved Akins when I came here and some of my best friends that I am still best friends with today also came to Akins,” she said. “We had a really great bond and we had good experiences here.”

She said that she wishes she knew more about the CCC during her time as a student at Akins.

“I was one of those students that didn’t know too much about the CCC,” she said. “That’s why when I got this position, I was very much like, ‘I want to make sure that everyone knows about the CCC and that there’s help for them here.’ I had off-periods and I wish I would’ve come in here to work on my essays.”

As the new CCC counselor, Arellano said that she wants seniors to know that there is financial aid available for all types of students. For most students this means filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA).

“I think it’s important that everyone signs up for financial aid. So I really want to accomplish everyone filling out at least FAFSA or TASFA,” she said.

Arellano said that she wants to make the CCC a space for everybody, whether that’s someone who is planning on going to college, or someone that just needs help applying to a two-year trade school.

“I want students that might not be considering a four year university to think about what their career options are. So maybe they want to do barber school or beauty school or cosmetology, or a technical school or trade school, and I want them to know that information too. If that’s their path that they want, I want them to feel confident about it,” she said.